pseudo cirque de soleil

I don’t know how time has flown and changed from dreading for a quiz to listening to Pitbull at the Aria resort in Vegas along with the other 2300 victims. The Ingram ONE welcome reception is at the pool side and the pseudo cirque de soleil charismatics are hired to distract us from the less-than-lustrous business conversations revolving around SMB, cloud, and the future of electronic data storage. The ingrained beats are an opportunity to upgrade my iTunes list. The luminous lights are making me squint my eyes and enjoy the platter full of accomplishments. The gin with ginger ale is making it all very easy. The perks seem sweeter since I started from nothing and pulled myself up inch after inch. It wasn’t easy or handed to me – the path came with a heavy load of speed bumps & challenges – ridicule, blame, discouragement, jealousy, and haters. But I kept my eyes on the destination, ignored the ignorants, and accelerated with a smile.

I don’t know what else there is but I’m enjoying every single bit of what this is – vivere nel momente

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live in the moment

pancakes venn

Let flour = past; egg = present; milk = future.

We are always making pancakes. At any given moment, we are either regretting the past or worrying about the future and in either case, our present becomes the victim. In scenario pasta, we let our past affect our present – we over analyze after the fact, we go through a realization phase, and we burden ourselves with regrets. In scenario omelette, we ruin our present worrying about the future – we surround ourselves with the 3 devils: paranoia, restlessness, and insecurity. We waste hours wondering, almost inviting our next attack. My favorite scenario is scenario batter where we pull ourselves out of the equation, grab some popcorn, and watch what becomes of our future as an audience.

What’s done is done and nothing can be done about it. We also have no visibility into what’s arriving – so why waste time reliving the past and fearing the unknown? Imagine mixing flour, egg, and milk together and then trying to segregate the ingredients in their original raw form. It is not only difficult, it is impossible. This mumbo-jumbo of past, present and future makes us crazy. No wonder we are exhausted, constipated, and REM-sleep deprived.

Remove the unnecessary, clear out your day, and gift yourself an extra time slot – go challenge your flexibility, try out the latest flavor at Yogurtland, or chase some waves. Forgive someone on your black list and stand on the weighing scale – you will be lighter. Wipe your mind clear of expectations before approaching a kiss. Close your eyes, inhale deeply, and let your taste buds enjoy the very first bite of a fresh fruit tart even if you have to run an extra 400 meters tomorrow. Give every feeling, every emotion, and every sensation a complete chance to make an impression. Experience each of the five senses in its purest form. Let the moment indulge you. Let the feeling overwhelm you.

Remember, space is limited. You’ve got to squeeze out the past and the future so you can squeeze in the present.

feeling the feeling

As soon as a soldier puts down his sword to rest, that’s when he gets attacked. I don’t know what emotion this is but this is my current emotion. I feel unprepared for an upcoming surprise attack. Someone’s watching hidden from a corner and waiting for me to put my sword down. And I can’t relax if I’m alert; the sword weighs me down. How do I close my eyes, how do I drink water, how do I exhale? And so I feel helplessly unprotected. This reminds me of a childhood chase dream I get once every 5 years – a gorilla, a very hairy gorilla with thick black hair is chasing to hunt me down in the middle of the forest and the only way out is to outrun him but I can’t make my feet move an inch.

I firmly believe in feeling the feeling. Acknowledge it. Welcome it. Analyze it. Understand it. Challenge it. Befriend it. Then wear a smile and say goodbye. If not, it may chase you down in form of a gorilla, a very hairy gorilla with thick black hair. And so that’s what I’m doing – I’m feeling the feeling.

prepare for war

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Your health journey can easily be compared to the Super Mario game. You will come across hurdles every step of the way. You will need to dodge a few distractions, punch a few challenges, and crush a few temptations. If attacked, you might need to start again. Don’t worry – there are unlimited chances. But you will have your best chance at accomplishing any level if you focus, remember what not to repeat, and proactively prepare.

Now leave the game. In the health world, allocate 10 minutes on Sunday to formulate a list and leave a few hours to shop for the upcoming week. The key is to restock your fridge in a way that when your tummy goes hungry, there is only the good stuff available. Don’t just wing it – put in some thought, analyze the upcoming intake, and divide it up into protein, unsaturated fats, low glycemic-index (GI) carbs, and lots of fiber. In addition to these, there will be moments of weakness when you can’t take this anymore. Your mind will be at war with your heart. With taste buds angry, senses all messed up, and mental strength at its all-time low, you will need to know how to prepare for inevitable cravings for cheese and chocolate. The more you endure now, the weakest you’ll be later. So go ahead and plan for those as well – but pick the least-worst ones. If you are too meticulous, divide it up into portions – that’s what zip-locks are for!

Now leave the health. Back to game. Be a Super Mario and prepare for war.

pray for Anya

Anand & Preethi came to US on a 6 months project at Google. They not only brought their software skills, but also their soft charms. Anand mesmerizes the crowd when he sings ‘Mitwa’ and Preethi reveals her magic in the kitchen. If I were to pin a finger on one quality that would be Preethi’s wide smile showing extra clean & whiter-than-the-color white teeth – so white that mine look yellow in comparison! I know them from my good old band days – from 6 years ago.

Even though I physically moved from the Bay Area, I have seen their life story, and their life surrounding little Anya through Facebook. I have seen her grow from 0 to almost 4 along with her art, her dancing, and her mischiefs. I have seen her getting spoilt by both parents.

anya

Now, in order to continue seeing her naughty giggles, I have to do something and I don’t know what. She has been diagnosed with something that comes with a deadline – Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a rare form of brain tumor with no known cause or cure. I have to do something and I don’t know what. But just knowing about it and not doing anything has me at unrest. As soon as I read about this, within microseconds I saw Rohan, my 4-year old nephew and grew a heavy heart. I can’t even begin to imagine what the family is going through.

I request anyone who’s reading this to join your hands in prayer and pray for this little angel. If you can take out a few hours, please research. If you have any connections with doctors and surgeons, please reach out. If you know of any unconventional methods, share your knowledge.

Please share any relevant information on this link: https://www.facebook.com/prayforanya

I have registered for the Malibu half-marathon and I’ll be running for little Anya, for giving her giggles some courage, for giving her family some strength, and for giving God an opportunity for a miracle.

out of sight, out of mind

There are 3 pillows supporting your spine. Your feet have warmed up to a perfect temperature inside the blanket. You connect your HDMI cable from your office laptop to that large flat screen TV and turn on Mad Men Season 6 Episode 5 – there is only one goal and that is to provide your undivided attention to Don Draper or Joan Harris, in case you are a straight guy, a very straight one. Just when you realize how wonderful life is and reflect it with a natural smile, your stomach sends another message – ‘I am hungry.” Now you have two options – you can quickly pause, run to the fridge, and grab a slice of multigrain bread and spicy hummus. Or, you can go through the trouble of calling in and driving all the way to Farfalla’s for your favorite margarita pizza. Right in the middle of figuring out whether Don wants to stay with his wife or the ravishing Italian woman, you’re not going to want to leave the site of crime. If I know the Mad Men enthusiasts right, bread & hummus would do just fine.

That’s the trick my friends. Keep the evil away for what is out of sight, is out of mind. Limit the options to healthier ones and keep the temptations at the fancy restaurants. Clean out the pantry and greenify that fridge.

create a goal

Smart Goal

My goals have ranged from trying to forcefully squeeze my thunder thighs into an x-small to getting back to my first driver’s license weight. In order to achieve that particular goal, I have tried every diet a human has ever invented – GM, Atkins, South Beach, Juicing, even the toughest of all – the Lemonade diet. After yo-yoing for the last decade, I am sitting here a little wiser – wiser because I have realized that my goals need to be less superficial and more meaningful. Most of all – they need to follow the SMART principle. 

So after erasing and rewriting my scribbles several times, I’ve finally chosen something that has me super excited. It is legen…wait for it – dary, it is legendary! My personal goal now is to prepare for my old age. I wish to be self-reliant, mobile, and super charged when I am 60, 70, and 80. I am assuming I’ll live forever but why the hell not! So I reviewed all of my previous test results and noted down my BMI, sugar, LDL cholesterol, TSH, and electrolytes. The goal is to improve my numbers by 1% by end of year. It may seem easy and low but bringing down your sugar level by 1-2gms would mean sacrificing that last shot, and opting out of that dark chocolate cake. I don’t want to rush – slow, steady, and sustainable is what I’m going for.

So create a goal that has a larger-than-looks effect. Create one that follows the SMART principle. Create one that is objective, quantitative, and valuable.  

forgive all sins

alfredo tongs 2Close your eyes. I wonder how you will then read the next sentence. Let’s do this again. Close your eyes hypothetically. Now imagine you are in a confession box. Listen to me and forgive your sins. The carb-loaded spaghetti slithering in that heavenly white creamy sauce, weekends filled with pizza while addicted to Breaking Bad, the nights of those notorious tequila shots, the sincere act of procrastinating doctor’s appointments, the warm chocolate soufflé with a perfect melting point, choice of mac & cheese over a quick jog, and the art of conveniently saying ‘I’ll start tomorrow’ every tomorrow.

There are about 100 trillion cells in a human body. If you can get just one cell to feel an itch and have an urge to now be stronger, healthier, and willing, you are already a winner.

Don’t waste any precious time regretting where you are today and wondering how you got here. What’s done is done and nothing can be done about it. What you can control however, are your actions today influencing your future tomorrow. So let today be your wake-up call, your starting point.

Forgive all sins and forgive them all. Feel that itch and find that urge. Now get up and get ready.  It ain’t gonna happen while you’re still reading this.

stronger than your strongest

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No matter how good your filtration system is, you’ll always find some who will discourage you, some who will push you down, and some who will break you. No matter how much you wrap yourself with the positives, some will find a way to inject negativity. At times like these, you will need to be stronger than your strongest and believe in yourself. They will push you to the ground but you will need to climb again, and again, and again.

They might not change and they might not surrender, but eventually they will disappear. But until then, you stand up and fight.

Don’t let them scare you, weaken you, devalue you – don’t let the negativity weigh you down.

Don’t let anybody break your spirit.

pranayama

Prana – ask me how it is pronounced accurately in Sanskrit because it has been butchered by the English language. It might now be an overly-priced cotton clothing store or even a fancy yoga word but Prana is the life force – in simple words, the sum total of all energy that when leaves the body, creates the differentiation between life and death. Ayama is to extend or draw out.

Let’s try a quick experiment. Just like how the nurses measure our pulse, let’s measure the number of times we breathe in a minute. Don’t worry – the blog is not going anywhere, I’ll wait until you open the app ‘clock’ on your iPhone. If you know me well, there’s no point arguing with me – just do it!

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What was your number? Did you observe that the breathing was quick, short, and shallow? Did your tummy get sucked in and bulge out? Probably not! With no awareness and simply breathing just because it comes naturally, we are creating a habit of shallow breathing. Shallow breathing pumps limited oxygen to limited space utilizing only a fraction of your total lung capacity. It leaves the rest of your lung capacity with old pollutants and toxins – stubborn tenants who wouldn’t leave voluntarily. My mom gave me an analogy. Imagine a pitcher full of water. It sits for a week and attracts dust particles, smoke, and pollution, and even traps a mosquito or two. You pour out only the top half and refill it with fresh water. After a week, you repeat this again and you do this for several weeks – will you drink this water? Probably not. The only way to have clean water every week is to empty out the pitcher completely and refill it with fresh water.  In an analogous world, lungs is to oxygen as pitcher is to water.

The first of the 26 poses in Bikram yoga is the Pranayama – an extension of the life force. By inhaling deeply, nourishing oxygen reaches the deepest ends of our respiratory system, clears out the cobwebs, and replaces the pollutants and toxins. It cleanses the lungs, forces a longer stretch of the torso, and influences a more complete cell development.

Our breathing, its speed and depth tells a lot about the state we are in. Prayanama relaxes and coaches us to slow down the overall pace of not only our heart, but also our mind. It brings back the wandering mind, melts away the stress and lets you let go.

Pranayama is learning how to breathe all over again.

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